THE END OF THE LINE by Angela  Cerrito

THE END OF THE LINE

Age Range: 12 - 15

KIRKUS REVIEW

This riveting debut opens with seventh-grader Robbie Thompson locked in solitary confinement at Great Oaks School (or Prison, as Robbie refers to it), where he’s forced to meet required behavioral expectations to gain even basic needs. Readers soon learn that he’s been placed at the “end of the line” after violent outbursts at four other alternative schools—and that he killed his friend Ryan. Short, quick-paced chapters, some only one page long, alternate between Robbie’s time in school/prison and past events that led up to Ryan’s death. There are no black-and-white issues here; Ryan is not a likable kid. After Robbie, a respectful and diligent son and student whose favorite pastime is building a model town with his Uncle Grant, stands up to the bullying Ryan receives on his first day in their sixth grade, Ryan ingratiates himself with Robbie’s family. While Robbie’s parents see an impoverished boy who lives with his elderly grandparents, Robbie realizes that Ryan is evasive, manipulative and a liar. Adding to his growing hatred is a (little overblown) tyrant of a teacher who wrongfully casts Robbie as the troublemaker of the class. A demanding Great Oaks leader, group therapy with teens years ahead of him and analogies to Uncle Grant’s difficult choices as a soldier in Iraq help Robbie find responsibility and acceptance. A thought-provoking look at culpability and grief. (Fiction. 12-15)
Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2287-6
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2011




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